Cranberry-Pistachio Cookie Bar

So last week I mentioned having some cookie bars cooling while I was writing. They are all gone, no I didn’t eat them all by myself I had some help. Actually it is kinda funny that my son who doesn’t live here anymore but works with my husband so is here most mornings does a drive-by of the stove and immediately looks to see what might be packaged up to snack on.
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My name is Donna and I am a snack-a-holic. (stop laughing KP) we have not one but two snack drawers and anything homemade goes on the shelf above the stove, mostly to keep my dog from counter surfing. Which he has done a few times.

IMG_3615Back to the cookie bars. I am going to blame the magazines I was going through to try to get rid of a few. Out of a half dozen or so I think I got rid of two. That is not how you clean out your magazines/catalogs. While going through them I came across one that they had me at the title Cranberry-Pistachio bars. One of my most favorite combination of sweet and salty is cranberries, pistachios and white chocolate. I have made cookies, biscotti’s and bark with these three magical ingredients and have NEVER been disappointed.
IMG_3622.JPGThese bars are thick, dense and chewy; not too sweet or salty just the right amount I think. Though they did not list white chocolate I had to add a drizzle of some of it melted on top.

Cranberry-Pistachios cookie bars
Preheat oven to 350’F – line a 9×13 pan with foil, spray non-stick spray

Ingredients
¾ cup butter, melted
1¼ cups light brown sugar, packed
1 cup granulated white sugar
½ cup honey
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
1½ cup salted pistachios, chopped
1 cup dried cranberries

Directions

In a stand mixer bowl, beat the melted butter, sugars and honey on medium until fluffy about 3-4 minutes. Scrape as needed. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each one. Beat in the vanilla.
IMG_3616IMG_3617In a small bowl, whisk the flour and salt. Add them to the wet mixture, beating until combined. Add pistachios and cranberries till combined.
IMG_3618IMG_3620Press batter into pan. Bake for 30-40 minutes until a wooden toothpick comes out slightly sticky. Let cool completely in the pan. Optional drizzle of white chocolate. I took a handful of chips and in a Pyrex measuring cup; melted them in the microwave for about a minute. Then drizzled them on the cooled bars. Slice and enjoy!
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Recipe adapted from Southern Lady magazine

Apple Galette – Rustic Tart

I am in a bad way! I have not only been craving baked goods; containing flour, sugar, butter, eggs and vanilla etc. I have been making way too many of them; which also means eating them.
IMG_3610.JPGLast weekend I made 2 different kinds of dessert, as I write there is a pan of cookie bars cooling on the stove. It is a little early to be packing on my winter weight. Yeah like that’s what it is; well that is what we call it when our pants get a little tighter and the baggy sweaters come out.
IMG_3612.JPGMy sister-law was up for the weekend and I had bought some apples the week before that were still in the bowl on the counter. So I decided we were going to make something with them. I can’t be certain but I do not recall ever making a galette and I have always wanted to. What I didn’t know was my sister-in-law had never made a homemade dough before. So many people; including me on occasion; buy pre-made dough from the store; making one from scratch can be well worth the extra 10-20  minutes. Plus it takes me longer to run to the store than to just make a simple crust.
IMG_3600So I held a little cooking class in my kitchen that was enjoyed by everyone. I enjoy showing/making, she enjoyed learning and everyone else enjoyed eating.
IMG_3601IMG_3602A galette is a simply a fancy word for a rustic tart. I mean if you were going to present or try to sell one. I mean you could probably get $3 for a slice of a rustic tart; but by calling it a galette you could probably get $5.

Tart dough
1½ cups (6¾ ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons sugar
½ teaspoon table salt
11 tablespoons (5½ ounces) cold, unsalted butter – grated or cut into small pieces
1 large egg yolk
3 tablespoons milk

Fruit Filling
5-7 Granny Smith – 4 cups of apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons Cinnamon
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In a stand mixer add the flour, sugar and salt. Using the paddle attachment combine the dry ingredients for a about 30 seconds. On low speed add the cold butter to the flour mixture until the flour is no longer white and it can hold together when you squeeze it together in your hand. Around 1-3 minutes. If there are any butter pieces larger than a pea squeeze them to break them up.
IMG_3604In a small bowl mix the egg yolk and milk and then add them to the flour mixture. On low speed mix until the dough just comes together, about 20 seconds. The dough will look crumbly and dry. Dump the dough onto a clean lightly floured surface. Working it with the heel of your hand, push and smear it away from you, gather it back up and repeat until the dough come together and is pliable.
IMG_3607Press it into a disc and wrap it in plastic wrap; let it rest in the fridge for 15-20 minutes. The dough can last up to 4 days in the fridge or a couple of months in the freezer. Place it in the fridge overnight to defrost. Let the dough sit on the counter for 15 minutes before the next step. Preheat the oven to 350’F
IMG_3608While the dough is resting prepare the fruit. Peel, core and slice the apples, add the sugar and cinnamon and some flour. Taste an apple and if it needs more sugar now is the time to add it. Roll the dough on a floured surface into a 13-14 inch circle. It does have to be a circle It doesn’t have to be perfect, remember it is called a rustic tart.
IMG_3609On a sheet pan covered with tin foil or a silpat mat. Place the round dough and add the apples to the center of the dough. If you want to make it pretty line up some of the apples that will be seen through the open part of the top. Fold the edges of the dough over some of the fruit to create a rim about 2 inches wide. Working your way around the dough pleating as you go.
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Make an egg wash by beating a whole egg in a small bowl with a fork. Using a pastry brush, brush the pleated dough evenly with some of the egg wash. Sprinkle with whatever sugar you have on hand. I used sugar in the raw.

Bake until the pleats of the dough are golden brown, about an hour. Once done transfer to a rack to cool. When cool enough to handle, transfer to a cutting board or plate and slice. Serve it warm or at room temperature. Top with whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

If you want to make a smaller tart you can quarter the dough into four separate disks and wrap each one in plastic wrap. When you roll out the dough into 7 inch circle. When you pleat the dough it should have a 1 inch rim.

When the tart’s ( we each made one) were in the oven I showed my sister-in-law the first dough I was shown how to make when I was a kid. Flour, water and oil. which I still make. I am glad I showed her the galette dough first the second is so easy though not as flaky and buttery but is the only dough I make when making curly cues. Dough rolled out covered with butter cinnamon and sugar rolled up and sliced into 1 to 1 1/2 inch pieces.  

no-bake cheesecake bananas & brown sugar

I was looking around for a quick but delicious dessert to serve after Easter dinner.  It was a small gathering but I still wanted something special for the day.
IMG_2707I am going to warn you that this was so delightful that you will only want to make it if there is a crowd; only so you don’t eat the whole thing yourself. Baring you like Bananas, light and fluffy brown sugar and cinnamon filling and a crust that; when baked; is crisp and tastes like vanilla buttery sweetness.

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My son does not like nuts so I left some off for him

I honestly cannot remember the last time I bought a box of Nilla-Wafers. I kind of remember there being two brands, I thought one was actually called vanilla wafers not the nilla one but I could  only find the one. I could also be wrong – doesn’t matter I didn’t have a choice.
IMG_2708The recipe said you don’t have to bake the crust but I am not sure how well the crust would hold together without the baking, if you decide not to, please let me know how it worked out for you. My first slice was the typical disaster, even the second slice wasn’t pretty but after that they all came out just perfectly after that. I will tell you that slicing it at the tables was not one of my finest moments. So if I were you just slice it in the kitchen before bringing it to the table.
IMG_2711Brown Sugar Banana No-Bake Cheesecake

Crust Ingredients
2 cups (va) nilla wafers – crumbled
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Filing Ingredients
2 Bananas, sliced thin
16 ounces cream cheese – room temperature
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup heavy cream
Optional toasted nuts

Crust Directions
Pre-heat oven to 350’F
Lightly grease a 9-inch round tart part – or use a pie plate
Combine cookie crumbs and melted butter until thoroughly combined and press into the bottom and up the sides of your dish
Bake for 12 minutes. Set aside to cool
IMG_2713Filling Directions
Arrange the sliced bananas along the bottom of your cooled crust
Beat the cream cheese, brown sugar, vanilla and cinnamon until thoroughly combined and smooth.
In a separate bowl whip up the heavy cream until soft peaks form.
Fold a third of the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture. Gently fold the rest of the whipped cream.
Spread the filling evenly on top of the bananas. Tops with toasted nuts if using and refrigerate for 4+ hours.


recipe from: bakeorbreak

Texas Sheet Cake

I briefly looked into why this is called Texas sheet cake but there was no evidence to where or when this originally got it’s name that I could find. I did share this recipe a few years ago but I thought it needed to make another appearance. 
IMG_2673.JPGI honestly do not care what it is called or where it came from but thank you to whoever started it. It is very moist, tangy, chocolaty, easy to make and just plain delicious! I strongly suggest you make this cake at least once in your life, though if you do, you will be making it again!
IMG_2656.JPGThe only ingredient that I needed to grab from the store was buttermilk. I do wish I could find a pint of buttermilk but all I have ever seen is it by a quart. Since I don’t love wasting food I will find some other uses for it, like buttermilk pancakes, buttermilk biscuits or buttermilk fried chicken. I was actually thinking of trying to make an Irish Soda Bread since this weekend it St Patrick’s Day and I have never made it before.
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I usually make this cake in one sheet pan and add nuts but I was invited to friends for dinner and wasn’t sure how the nuts would go over and I wanted to make it a little festive so I added green and white sprinkles. I used two sheet pans just cuz no reasoning. I hope everyone likes it!

Preheat oven to 400’F

In a Saucepan add the next 4 ingredients and bring to a boil for 2-3 minutes
1 Stick of Butter
½ Cup Vegetable Oil
4 TBS Cocoa
1 Cup Water

Sift together and pour the chocolate sauce over and mix well
2 Cups Flour
2 Cups Sugar

Add to the above
½ Cup Buttermilk
1 tsp Baking Soda
2 Eggs
1 tsp Vanilla
Mix well and pour into greased jelly roll pan
IMG_2664Bake for 20 minutes
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While baking make the frosting as it needs to be poured onto the cake while it is still hot.
In a saucepan – you can use the same one just clean it while the cake is in the oven
1 Stick Butter
1/3 Cup Buttermilk
4 TBS Cocoa

Bring to a boil for a minute or two
IMG_2665.JPGAdd the following
1 Box of Confectioner’s Sugar (roughly 2¾ Cup)
½ tsp Salt
1 tsp Vanilla
¾ Cup Chopped Walnuts or pecans or sprinkles be creative
IMG_2669.JPGOnce cooled – slice and store in airtight container

Pumpkin Spiced Muffins – cajun rub fried turkey

I share this recipe last year but it was so good that I thought it was worth repeating. Plus I am sitting on a beach drinking tasty adult beverages and haven’t made anything sweet and delicious to share and maybe you have a can or two of pumpkins lying around. It may last till next year’s Thanksgiving but why chance it.

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I do hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. This year I did things a little different. I made mashed potatoes and mashed sweet potatoes first thing in the morning and put each in my slow cookers to keep warm. I buy 2 smaller birds versus one enormous one, I find I have better luck having juicy meat instead of dry. This year I was on the fence on how to cook them. literally the morning of Thanksgiving I held a meeting with all in the kitchen on how to cook my two 10 pound birds. consensus was fry one and spatchcock the other. I knew that the fried one needed A LOT of spices and I needed to get going so it had time to soak in. I took the other and started to spatchcock also know as removed the backbone.  FYI it was much harder to remove than when I remove it from a roaster chicken.
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Both birds turned out great, but the cajun spice rub I put on the fried bird was amazing!

Rub
1/4 cup chili pepper
1/4 cup paprika
1/4 cup ground black pepper
2 tablespoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoon onion powder
1 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
1 1/2 tablespoon cayenne pepper

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spatchcock

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cajun rubbed fried

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Pumpkin Spiced Batter – preheat oven to 350’F


1 package yellow cake mix
1 package vanilla pudding mix
1 cup canned pumpkin
½ cup oil
½ cup water
3 eggs
1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp vanilla extract

Put all the ingredients into a bowl and with an electric mixer on low speed beat just till moistened. Move up to medium for a couple of minutes. Spoon batter into 24 paper-lined muffin cups. Fill each cup about ⅔ full

Bake for about 20 minutes. Frost cooled cupcakes with the spiced cream cheese frosting.

Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting
1 package (8oz) cream cheese – softened
¼ cup butter – softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp ground cloves

Add to bowl and beat until light and fluffy, gradually add 1 (16oz) box of confectioners sugar.

 

 


Recipe by : McCormick & Co

Bark – chocolate, pistachios, craisins

There is nothing more surprising to me when someone walks up to me or sends me a message to ask a question or make a suggestion about what I blogged about last week or last month. Or when someone I’ve never met makes a comment, hits the like button or starts to follow me.  Thank you for all who reach out, I truly appreciate it and you for taking the time out of your crazy life to acknowledge little ole me.  I am pretty proud of this weekly delve into my food and sometimes personal journey!
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I talked with my daughter about doing a blog of some sort with her for a few years until I finally pulled the trigger on writing about one of both of our passions. While it ended up being more of my food blog I do share this journey with her as she is my strongest supporter, she is my sounding board, my technical adviser, my social media guru and a huge inspiration – thanks sweetie!
IMG_5483So I have been trying to make things a little healthier around here for me and my family but sometimes you just have to have something that just totally rocks – good bad or indifferent I just have to share this ridiculously easy treat that I can’t believe I have never made before.
IMG_5485I saw it a few weeks ago, I can’t even remember where; TV, Magazine, Online I have no idea but I literally went to the kitchen and threw it together.  And I guiltily have made it at least a half dozen times since. Though my first few times were with semi sweet chocolate, almonds and craisins my brilliant daughter called me on her way to work with a batch for her co-workers and said “White Chips, Pistachios, Craisins” if you have never had this combination in anything you need to stop reading this and make SOMETHING – ANYTHING with this combo. We discovered them, well at least in my house, when we made the biscotti recipe I blogged about awhile back. I think they are magical together and this bark is crazy good!
IMG_5490Spoiler alert some of my close peeps that follow my blog might just be seeing some for a little Christmas love this year!

1 cup chips melted – your choice
Dried fruit chopped
Nuts chopped

Yeah its that easy!
IMG_54861 cup white chips melted in the microwave – takes a minute or so
½ cup Dried craisins – chopped a little smaller
½ cup Pistachios – chopped a little smaller

Spread the melted chocolate onto either parchment or if you are lucky enough to have a silpat mat; if you don;t ask for one or two for Christmas, Birthday, Thanksgiving or even Wednesday.

Sprinkle your toppings and place in the fridge till it hardens.  Break apart and enjoy!
IMG_5489I’ll give you the macros for the 2 I have been making; but they are not great. OK! am back I just made a batch so I could give the most accurate measurements.  You’re welcome and Thank you 🙂

Macros = 1 ounce white bark
210 Calories – 11 g Fat – 24 g Carbs – 3 g Protein
Macros = 1 ounce semi-sweet bark
243 Calories – 13 g Fat – 24 g Carbs – 4 g Protein

Almond Flour Blondies

I am a huge impulse buyer – KP stop laughing! My girlfriend KP gives me crap all the time for picking up something obscure and totally not what we were out shopping for. The area around the register is pretty dangerous for people like me; lucrative for the store though.
IMG_5279My daughter had made a few almond crust lemon curd tarts awhile back, at the time we couldn’t find almond flour in our little town so she had to make her own; she is so clever. So when I was out shopping and came across a large bag of Almond flour sitting at the end of an aisle I grabbed it.
IMG_5268Since I made this impulse purchase she hasn’t made any tarts; so now what am I supposed to do with it? Oh and I forgot to mention that I was at my club store when I “found” the bag so you might be getting a clearer picture that the bag I bought was a 10 pound bag of almond flour Yikes!
IMG_5271Since Almond flour is crushed almonds it is a little on the sweet side so I think it would only be good for something sweet; though I haven’t explored what to do with it extensively that is the way I am going with it.  I made an almond flour blondie that is sooooo good.  The only noticeable difference I found was that my blondie while ooey and gooey, it was also a little crumbly but that hasn’t stopped me from making them again.
IMG_5274Almond Flour Blondie

½ cup butter
¾ cup brown sugar
½ cup white sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoon vanilla
1 ¾ cup almond flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup white chocolate chips
½ cup chopped pecans (optional)

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If you need to soften your cold butter; slice it into smaller pieces it will soften quicker

Preheat the oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9×13 pan.
Using a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugars. Add eggs and vanilla and mix on high till they become light and fluffy. Takes about 3 minutes.
Add the flour, baking powder and salt. Mix until everything is incorporated. Stir in the chips and nuts if you are using them.
Pour the dough into the greased baking dish. Smooth the dough and bake for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for 15-20 minutes slice and enjoy!
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